Over the years I have tried many different approaches to cleaning house. For the first several years of our marriage I had a monthly cleaning schedule that worked very well. It looked something like this:
But by the time I had a few little guys running around, it was no longer practical. If it was a hectic day and I missed one of the monthly tasks, would it then be a whole month before I got around to it? Or would I do it the next day and throw the whole schedule off? Or would I do it on the weekend? And what about all the things that didn’t make it to the list? Eventually I gave up on the schedule completely and moved to an entirely as-needed cleaning regimen. Really what that means is I just accepted living in a dirty house most of the time.
Since I’ve been on Pinterest, I’ve seen several seemingly revolutionary cleaning ideas, and most of the ones that really resonated with me are those that suggest one chore a day. Two of my favorites were this one from Fun, Cheap, or Free, and of course chore sticks, a fun twist on the one-per-day idea. But what I’ve settled on is somewhere between the two, I think.
I found this great almost all-encompassing, downloadable list from Housecleaning Central. It comes from a professional cleaning company, so it is pretty thorough. I LOVE that the list has a column to mark the date the chore was completed (or maybe it is for a check mark or initials, but I use it for dates). I started with their list, took out the parts that didn’t apply to my house, added a couple things, tweaked it a bit to make it fit our needs, and now I’m using that as my jumping off point for the one-chore-a-day idea. I set up a little reminder on my phone that pops up each day reminding me to do “One Chore”. Then I pick something from my list and do it. If it is a busy day, I pick something small. If I have some extra time, I pick one of the bigger jobs. Sometimes I’ll choose a project I’ve been putting off, like sorting through the kids clothes for the next season. Sometimes I find I’m in a rhythm and I’ll do more than one in a day. This is the first time, probably ever, that I can say I’m actually enjoying cleaning the house.
Now, I have to stress here that I don’t count any of the daily maintenance jobs as my one chore. Otherwise I’d be done first thing in the morning after I unload the dishwasher 🙂 I don’t count laundry, vacuuming (needs to be done almost daily at our house), washing dishes, etc… Those are the no-brainers that have to be done every day. But those chores that I rarely remember to do, like clean the cobwebs from the ceiling, or the things I find myself putting off, like cleaning those dusty blinds… those are the things this method is perfect for.